I promise you are not alone if the idea of baking a loaf of chocolate bread gives you pause. I totally get it. Honestly, it hadn’t even occurred to me until I had a piece of chocolate bread (or was it a roll – memory does not serve, if you must know) at Blue Hill at Stone Barn this fall. The bread wasn’t remotely sweet, but had this subtle cocoa tang, combined with a deeply yeasty flavor, and was the most gorgeous deep dark brown color. I was smitten.Recipe research/development began in relative earnest, but I discovered very few recipes on the beloved intra-web. I knew I wanted my bread to be of the no-knead variety and figured I would just riff off of my go-to no knead recipe from the NYT, by substituting a bit of cocoa powder for some of the bread flour – and maybe throwing in some chocolate chunks, for good measure. I wasn’t exactly sure how much cocoa powder to use, however, but as luck would have it, I bumped into my neighbor who happens to own one of the best bakeries in NYC, and he generously shared the percentage of flour to cocoa powder that he uses in the bakery for his own chocolate bread. Shockingly, I was right on the mark.I added a cup of chopped chocolate to my bread – for just a little extra “sweet.” And although, I tried a few loaves with bittersweet, I ended up adding milk chocolate (I know: not the most sophisticated of chocolates), which works beautifully with the tangy, almost sour, flavor of the bread. Feel free to substitute a fancier chopped chocolate in its stead, though, for those of you with a more grown-up palate than mine. But no matter what you do, please serve slices toasted with cream cheese (my personal fave).
Yeasted No-Knead Chocolate Bread
- 2 3/4 cups bread flour
- 1/4 cup Dutch process cocoa powder
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons table salt
- 1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
- 1 cup milk chocolate chips
- 1 1/2 cups water room temperature
- Combine all of the dry ingredients in a large bowl and whisk to combine. Add the chips and water and stir with a wooden spoon to combine. Once all of the flour is hydrated, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in a warm place (or at least a place with no cold drafts) and let rise for 18 to 24 hours.
- Remove the dough from the bowl and knead once on a piece of parchment paper, shaping the dough into a ball. Cover the ball with plastic wrap and let rest on the counter for 2 hours. The ball does not change all that much during this period of time, don't be concerned. This bread is much firmer than regular no-knead bread and will keep its shape.
- While resting, preheat the oven to 450 degrees. A half an hour before the dough finishes rising, place a 3.5 quart heavy, dutch oven in the oven to preheat. When ready to bake, remove the pot from the oven, pick up the parchment-lined dough and place the parchment and dough into the pot and cover it. Bake for 30 minutes.
- Remove the lid and bake for 15 minutes more, until the bread sounds hollow when tapped. Let cool slightly before spreading with cream cheese or salted butter and enjoying.
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